China Team Journal

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together."- President Woodrow Wilson

Traffic has been tough this year in Kunming (will they ever finish the subway system?), so we left the hotel at 7:50. However, we arrived at the University so early that Jim, Leon and I had time to stroll over to the small park area across from our classroom building, where Leon demonstrated Tai Chi. 

Nancy taught all the classes the song, When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you, to practice the long “i” sound.  We soon discovered that we needed to also practice long “a,” since the word “rain” in the song came out as “reen.” The morning passed quickly as we are beginning to know our students better and to fall into a rhythm of teaching.  In my class, I shared pictures of my family and friends.  The students were impressed by the size of my family and how young my 97-year-old father looks (not a day over 79).  At least a couple classes, including mine, are sharing family history to practice speaking and we have learned that there are only two occupations in China – farmer and worker.  All the classes are enjoying a variety of games and songs as part of their learning experience.  My class learned the songs I like to eat and Bingo, and made a “Chalkboard Chain.”

In the afternoon, the Piver-Ablon contingent returned to the campus to present Nancy’s and Leon’s lectures, sharing their own family histories.  Nancy reported that she actually fielded two oral questions, perhaps a record.  The students especially enjoyed the picture of Nancy’s mother pointing a long gun and Leon’s short video of his grandchildren singing in Chinese.

Jim and I stayed back at the hotel to work on our lesson plans, our plans for tomorrow’s “break-out sessions” (a new experiment in learning for the Chinese students), and this journal.  However, the hotel’s free coffee hour beckoned and the sofa-like chairs by the window were comfortable, so we spent a couple of hours chatting about a variety of things, and suddenly it was time to meet for dinner. Oops!

Dinner was at the restaurant around the corner from the hotel where we have enjoyed meals in past years.  This year was no exception as we feasted on two of our favorites, an “inside-out” fish with sweet-sour sauce and a pyramid of slightly sweet and sticky rice. Satisfied, we all returned to the hotel to work on our various assignments.

Tomorrow we will leave at 8:00 instead of 7:50, a most welcome change.  We look forward to another rewarding day with our Kunming students.

- Esther